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Indian restaurant chain switches to free-range chickens after TV plea

16 January 2008 by

A chain of Indian restaurants is switching to free-range chicken at a cost of £150,000 a year after the owner watched TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's impassioned TV plea last week.

Jamal Hirani, chief executive and founder of Tiffinbites, says the move - which will increase food costs at his group of London restaurants by around £3,000 a week - is in direct response to the Channel 4 show Hugh's Chicken Run.

"Hugh's Chicken Run series has really affected the nation," he said. "We immediately began receiving queries from customers as to the nature of the chicken we serve, and myself and all staff included instantly knew that we had to ensure all our poultry was free range.

"Although it's challenging to source free range chicken, it's a move that we hope other Indian restaurants will follow."

Suppliers are cashing in on the interested generated by the Channel 4 series with significant cost increases, according to Hirani. A broiler chicken before would have set Tiffinbites back £1.88 per kg, but now this cost is set to rise to £4.88 per kg for free-range birds, he said.

Fearnley-Whittingstall described the move as "brilliant news".

"Obviously the Indian restaurant sector accounts for phenomenal amounts of chicken sales - and mostly these are all standard, intensively farmed birds," he said.

"We hope many other Indian restaurants, both independent and chains, will follow Tiffinbites excellent example, and decide to go free range."

Tiffinbites website >>

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall calls on industry to switch to free-range poultry >>

UK diners care more about locally sourced than organic food >>

Hospitality divided over TV exposure >>

By Daniel Thomas

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